Recipe: Spiced Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

For as long as I can remember, peanut butter blossoms have been a given at my family's annual cookie swap. Showered with a light layer of crunchy sugar and filled with a signature chocolate kiss at the center, I could always count on them to be nestled amongst all the Christmas cookie classics. This year I'm bringing a spiced twist to the spread. It's everything you'd expect from peanut butter kiss cookies, with a subtle hint of warm cinnamon.

A New Twist on a Classic Cookie

One of the easiest ways to give classic cookies a fun twist is with the help of your spice cabinet. A small spoonful of sweet cinnamon gives these cookies subtle notes of warm spice. It's a little unexpected, but totally welcome!

While it's hard to resist the traditional creamy milk chocolate kiss at the center of this cookie, you've got a lot of options to choose from these days. To complement the cinnamon even more, try caramel-filled kisses or even the pumpkin spice ones. For a richer-tasting cookie, dark chocolate candies are always a good idea — especially when paired with peanut butter.

Spiced Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Makes about 24 cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 Hershey's kisses

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats; set aside.

Place the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine; set aside.

Place the butter, peanut butter, 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat at medium speed until lightened in color and creamy, about 2 minutes.

With the mixer on low speed, beat in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the flour mixture on low speed until just combined.

Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a shallow bowl or plate. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, measure 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough from the bowl. Roll between the palms of your hands to form a ball, then roll in the sugar to evenly coat. Place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart, 12 cookies per sheet.

Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets between racks and from front to back. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned around the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes more.

Place a chocolate kiss at the center of each cookie and press down. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a flat spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Recipe NotesStorage: Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.Make ahead: The cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It can also be scooped out, rolled in the sugar, placed on baking sheets, frozen solid, and stored in resealable freezer bags in the freezer for up to 3 months. Frozen cookies can be baked straight from the freezer but may need 1 to 2 minutes extra baking time.

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